Sunday, November 17, 2013

Steamed Rice and Chicken Buns with Asian Noodle Salad


Asian food can be tricksy when it comes to allergy friendly cooking. My kids love the bold fresh flavours of asian food so tonight I decided to try out something new. Not only was it new, it involved a dough. I have a history of GF dough flops so I was a bit nervous about trying this one. As it turns out, it was pretty easy and they came out really soft, sweet and delicious. The recipe looks a little long, but most of it you can prepare and leave.

The chicken (filling for the buns and for the salad)

500g good quality boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 C water
1/2 C balsamic vinegar (GF)
2 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 C GF soy sauce such as tamari
1 clove garlic
1 bunch of asian green such as bok choy washed and chopped finely

Mix together all ingredients except the chicken in a shallow pan and place on medium heat. Add the chicken and simmer for approx 20 mins until the liquid has reduced and is sticky. Keep turning the chicken so that both sides are nice and brown. When the liquid starts to go sticky remove the chicken and add the greens to the sauce. Continue simmering until the liquid reduces further and becomes a glaze. Chop the chicken and place in a bowl then add the greens and remaining sauce.

For the buns:

1 Tbsp dry yeast
1 1/2 C luke warm water
1/4 C honey
2 C glutinous rice flour (this is GF despite the name, and found in Asian supermarkets)
2.5 C fine rice flour
1/2 C olive or vegetable oil
Sesame seeds

Place the warm water, the yeast and the honey in a bowl and stir until dissolved. Whisk in the 2 C of glutinous rice flour and cover the bowl with cling film. Place in a warm spot for 30-40 mins until the mixture is bubbly.

Add the 2.5 C of rice flour and the oil and stir until combined. Knead with your hands and form into balls a little bigger than a golf ball. It's not going to be a smooth elastic dough but never fear - it'll work. Wet your hands if that makes it easier. I got around 10 balls from my dough. Place the balls onto a tray lined with baking paper.

To form the buns press each ball with the heel of your hand to form a disc. Add 1 Tbsp of the chicken mix and fold the edges around the chicken. You're meant to pinch it to seal but my dough was rather cakey and difficult to handle so I made a ball as best as I could using wet hands. If there are some cracks just smooth them over, and if some sauce leaks out don't worry about it! You can see from the pic below that it's a dry dough rather than a traditional elastic wheat based dough. You can use this recipe for dumplings as well by rolling it out thinner and placing filling inside before folding it over.

To cook the buns place a bamboo steamer over a wok or large pan with water covering the bottom of the pan. Line the steamer with baking paper and use some spray oil if you have some. Place 3 - 4 buns in the steamer at a time, making sure that they don't touch each other or the sides of the steamer. Place the lid on and steam for 15 mins. Don't peek! But do make sure the pan doesn't boil dry. Keep topping it up as you go. Keep the first batch of buns warm while you make the second. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you wish.

For the salad

1 'cake' of vermicelli noodles (rice)
2 carrots grated
1/2 cucumber peeled and cut into batons
1 bunch coriander leaves
Sesame seeds

Place rice vermicelli noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water.

Add vegetables, coriander, sesame seeds and remaining chicken in a bowl. After 10 mins add the drained noodles. Run a sharp knife through the noodles in the bowl a few times to chop them up. Toss everything together.

There we go! And you thought you'd never be able to eat dumplings or steamed buns again.

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